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Messages - J.R. Darewood

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Self Publishing Discussion / Re: On Contacting Reviewers
« on: April 18, 2016, 07:15:25 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice. I feel much better going at this now

Self Publishing Discussion / On Contacting Reviewers
« on: April 16, 2016, 07:05:27 PM »
So I'm helping promote these two charity anthologies I'm a part of and I agreed to contact some people on the Indie Reviewer's list.

I've never contacted a reviewer before-- is there a certain protocol/etiquette I should use?  Do you send the AR right away, or do you wait to see if they're interested then send them the file?

I have no idea what I'm doing, any advice welcome.

I know a handful of people who submitted-- they haven't heard back either but according to twitter some people have received hand-written rejection cards, sometimes with comments, while people getting a request for a full MS have been contacted by email.  It's not clear whether they're contacting everyone they reject or just making an announcement when they're done and if you didn't hear from them it means you're rejected.

Open For Submissions / Podcastle looking for short fantasy
« on: April 04, 2016, 03:32:43 AM »
Looks like these guys are offering 6 cents a word for short fantasy stories.  Thought I'd pass it along!


General Discussion / Re: Jobs or Degrees outside of Writing?
« on: March 19, 2016, 11:04:44 AM »
I am a consultant in digital media, currently working with several music recording studios, a robotic design firm, and several colleges doing things from working with curriculum to designing television studios.  I also do consulting in program development for universities, helping programs move to a sustainable model when faced with state budget cuts.  On the side I keep my hand in my original career of film and television directing and have a couple of projects per year.  I also maintain a History of the Great War website, am a game designer, and run a scholarly group called the Thin Tweed Line, which are all writing like though.

For public service I have a certificate in Law Enforcement from the South Carolina Academy, and formerly held certification as a forensic investigator.  I spent 5 years of road duty 2-nights a week.  During that time I was a "first in" building entry person, worked with investigations involving digital video, but otherwise my religion prevented me from being a super cop and I was pretty ineffective as one - except for the video stuff I did.

I try to work with students in creative projects as much as possible due to my religion and personal beliefs.  In fact, I just raised about $90,000 to support a group of student filmmakers and authors develop a web series from script to screen and am negotiating with a couple of universities to see where the project will be based.  I have a soft promise of a Scarlett and Avid is coming through with stuff for the project since it will likely be based at an Avid Certified location.

As an aside I have a BS (HON) in Human Studies with majors in History, Religion, Business, and English; a MS in Communication Studies in history of technology, and completed my coursework, dissertation, and competencies in a Ph.D. in Communication but the university would not issue the degree when I came down with a fatal degenerative illness.  I survived the illness, but never got the degree so I am the only person in the world who is legally ABD for the rest of their life.  Related to others in this field I have worked with anthropological film, but Nanook never pays and if you do not belong to the "in crowd" in anthropology (anthropologists can be quite snooty about professional playing in their gardens) you cannot get people to take your work serious, but I admire people who do work in it.  I was a close follower of Karl Heider and took classes with him when I was more into it, so the anthropologists on this forum have a tip of my hat.

More important than me is my wife.  She is a PhD biology who worked for the Brazilian Navy for years, a former ballerina, multi-lingual (Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian, and for all I know, Urdu).  She is a professor of anatomy and physiology teaching in a nursing program, and a volunteer in the health field with her EMT and STNA.  My students when I was a professor said that she was an 8 who somehow married a 4-1/2.  :)

Edited to add LEO work and things about wife.

Wow, you both sound like you've done all kinds of insanely interesting stuff. And you're a fellow visual anthropologist (well partially at least--you're right they're very snooty about what they count as anthropology and what isn't, but I'm glad to announce that's changing) Karl Heider is extremely famous-- I studied a bit under Stephen Lansing, if you know him, the Balinese water temple guy Goddess and the Computer and all that.

You'll have to post a link to your web series when it's done!

General Discussion / Re: Jobs or Degrees outside of Writing?
« on: March 19, 2016, 10:56:30 AM »
Bradley that was some fabulous resume and I dread to think what will happen if we get back to our RPG sometime, your sense of humour better be top-notch.

And BTW the anthology of horror stories, with Bradley's hilariously horrendous toilet story is great.


Thanks for the plug Lady Ty!!! That story is some of my best toilet humor.

I'm prepared for the best @ScarletBea and @m3mnoch have up their sleeves :)

Government IT, airplanes... there's some serious technical skills in this group.  If the world ends I wanna be trapped in a bunker with you all.  I can mix some drinks in a bowtie while you all build computers and shit.


They act like this has never happened before but Fullmetal Alchemist outran its source material and they just made up a random ending.  When the manga was finally finished, they revisited it with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

Some news :


General Discussion / Re: Jobs or Degrees outside of Writing?
« on: March 11, 2016, 02:29:31 AM »
I worked in a packaging plant in High School
Got my EMT cert then worked on an ambulance through college (and as a sports med tech at rugby games) and in a hospital during summers
got a BA in Biology (and Peace Studies) but realized medicine is profiting off sick people and couldn't go through with med school
spent some time in South America interning with an environmental organization
then worked as a PA on a news-magazine TV show that acquired a documentary distribution nonprofit
I also waited tables at the same time
I eventually quit so i could have the free time to make my own documentary about an oil refinery that exploded in south america and paid for it by gogo dancing, tho it was a mixed bar, mostly filipina elementary school teachers would come in to stick dollar bills in our underpants (left with like 75$/hr it wasn't bad even if you felt weird paying for things with crumpled dollar bills covered in baby oil)
Then I moved to Asia taught english in China for 3 months and did research for an Int'l NGO in Vietnam for 6 months, then picked up a job working with homeless kids in Indonesia making music videos while researching another human rights doc for like 1.5 years
Moved back to the US for a couple of months and did bartending
Bartended in a giant nightclub that hosted a male revue for women (serving drinks in a bowtie with no shirt- most money I ever made actually) then worked for an environmental Political Action Committee in California for a year or two
After that I went to grad school
but while in grad school i did contract work for international NGOs working in Mali and Niger, documenting innovations (more like reformations) in emergency relief (humanitarian aid to starving nomads in the middle of the Sahara) and microfinance
I also took a year off to be a policy analyst for a small environmental justice organization in LA where everyones sick from pollution
Then i did research in SE Asia and S. America for 4 years.  Wrote my dissertation
Now I have a PhD in Applied Anthropology
I got a temp gig teaching Visual Anthropology (Filmmaking for anthropologists/anthropology for filmmakers)
But mostly I'm broke. i've got some grant apps out to fund my next filmmaking adventure but these grants take a ton of effort to write and they barely cover my costs.
I hate academia, but my academic writing does really well (I get people asking me to write chapters in their books etc. and actually this latest teaching job someone asked me to come teach it, I didn't apply), but getting a tenure-track academic job (the only kind that pays a living wage) is exhausting and there's too competitive so i don't know if I'm good enough and the environment is often catty and awful and now I'm overqualified to go back to NGOs or do something fun and creative which I'd rather do than academia anyway.

So I play the Powerball a lot and dream of quitting my life.  If that Powerball doesn't pan out, my other dream is writing creative nonfiction or this fantasy series that's been burning a hole in my mind.

I have to write it, whether it does well or not, but i dream of being able to write full time, even though I know I've got a snowballs chance in hell. My fantasy series is sort of meh and it's taking years to revise it and its still not good enough so... we'll see what happens I guess

I've got a short story about a dude that really has to take a shit in a charity anthology on Amazon that everyone seems to like,  And another story about a guy that calls a phone number he sees scrawled on a public toilet stall in another charity anthology, but that's about it.

The sale is going on for one more day but the book will still be available at normal price when it's over of course!


Done with pleasure, but we never get the bargains so hopefully more money for your cause.

Not my usual reading fare, bit of a scaredy cat, but will read your story at least then pass on to more appreciative member of the family.  :D  Very happy to support help for the homeless.

Edited to add, six hours later -Hey, Bradley - I read your story first, it is scary as hell and totally shitty. This collection ends with one of the best.The rest of you will have to read it to know why I am so mean. Despite never choosing to read horror, spent the rest of the day finishing the whole book.

Well varied package of fourteen scary stories and five creepy poems, that is a terrific bargain.  If you are lucky enough to be able to buy at the special price Bradley quoted, snap it up fast, you won't regret it and even if you pay more it is worthwhile.

Horror doesn't need to be graphic to give you the chills and some of the situations are frighteningly familiar - or so they seem at the start. Glad I no longer need to catch a Night Bus, as I once did after work.

Thanks Bradley that was a top Sunday arvo entertainment. Now need to go for a walk to ease my conscience after that long indulgent read.

Wow!!! Thanks for the kind review!!! I'm glad you liked my toilet humor :) :)

We actually don't have any reviews on Amazon yet (hint hint!), so if you feel like putting some of your thoughts on Amazon, that would seriously kick ass!

The sale starts-- er, started-- yesterday!

Writers' Corner / Re: Female Fantasy Readers thoughts on Male Protagonists
« on: February 08, 2016, 07:24:30 AM »
So this discussion has gone in a really meaningful and interesting way.

What I was trying to get at when I first posted this was sorta selfish-- I'm trying to hone my own manuscript while thinking about some of these issues-- but I didn't really give enough context.

I start out with a total fantasy cliche-- a rogue joining the party of a knight in shining armor on a quest to rescue a kidnapped princess from an evil wizard.  With the exception of a female antagonist mixed in, the beginning of the book is dominated by mostly male protags.

But... once you get to Chapter 17, you realize the princess is not really interested in getting rescued at all.  In Chapter 24 she uses her new connections to the rebels, gained during her "captivity", to orchestrate an attempted coup against her father.  In the final parts of the book, when you realize who's pulling all the strings, you see that the men of the book have had virtually no agency and the maneuvering throughout the book has largely been a battle between 2 women and the king.

My concern was that, starting off the way I do, I'm going to lose the very readers that would appreciate the twists I had in store.  I was trying to find a way to make the beginning a little less masculinist (and in the process maybe a little less cliche), while still delivering my misdirection.

oops, edited to include the links and the cover... I knew I was forgetting something!  I suck at this promotion stuff. Noooooo idea how to go about it.  Any tips in that respect are of course welcome!

Small Press & Self-Published / Charity Horror Anthology on Sale Feb 8-12
« on: February 06, 2016, 11:52:11 PM »
I know, right? Charity and horror look kind of odd together, but trust me, it makes sense.

My short story "The Killer 10" appears in an anthology with everything from baby-eating demons to, well, my story about a dude who really has to take a shit while a serial killer's on the loose. It's... er... at the very end.  Seriously, it's the very last frigging story. WTF.

Anyway, the cause is fantastic-- ALL of our proceeds go to an organization that helps homeless people in all sorts of ways, from getting shelter, to jobs to (most importantly) mental health services. That last part is really rare-- the most difficult to reach homeless people are the mentally ill, and few organizations are willing to engage with the most vulnerable people of all.

At any rate, it's on SALE from Feb 8-12 for just $0.99.  So get it while it's on sale!  Or get it when it's *not* on sale to give an even larger donation to our charity.

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017A6XEDQ

Haven't watched the two-part end yet, but based on your notes:

Spoiler for Hiden:
sounds like mid-season cliffhanger

The finale of this season takes us to half-way through the first of the book "the Leviathan Wakes", but it *is* the end of this season.  SciFi has commissioned 13 episodes for next season tho!

I'm glad they're taking it slow-- the show deserves it!  And it gives them plenty of material so that at this pace they'll have enough for 18 seasons b4 the book series is over.  I'm loving this show!!!!!

And unfortunately these types of people are becoming more vocal, and trying to nitpick everything. I read one blogger that said if you didn't include any gay characters in your novel you were a closet homophobe.  :o  ::)

I think the best solution is just a greater variety of authors from different backgrounds writing stories and incorporating their own experiences and perspectives into what they are creating.

Out of all the creative mediums out there, writing surely is the easiest to get involved with. Pencil and paper are cheap, you just have to supply the imagination.

It's kind of tricky-- I'm on tumblr so I see this kind of stuff a lot. A lot of anger, about the heteronormativity of books and movies, representation of minorities etc etc. My old roommate was an Asian actor, and watching him practice for auditions it was really clear how he was typecast (and how disturbingly racist the writing is in Hollywood). Moreover, there was a study done by USC that found that: “Across 100 top-grossing films of 2012, only 10.8 percent of speaking characters are Black, 4.2 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are Asian, and 3.6 percent are from other (or mixed race) ethnicities,” I think whites comprised 75% of the speaking roles while nonwhites comprised nearly half of the ticket sales.

So AshKB makes a lot of sense here:

It's how much Rey and Finn have been clung to in the new Star Wars movie - oh my god, someone like me gets to be the hero*. There was a female Chinese X-wing pilot in that movie, too, a tiny supporting role. But that touched people, too. 'Oh, she looks like me and she gets to fly an X-wing ? '.

Yes, things are political and emotional about diversity, but at the core of it, this is what it is: to tell stories and to reach out to people. And it doesn't take much.

And the insistence of Only If It Suits The Story I think kind of misses that.

Especially if people seek things out, they can find great literature, great independent films that aren't circulating at the scale that a blockbuster is (probably *because* it's appealing to the economic majority) with some really thought provoking representation going on. Its just not as likely in the more cookie-cutter blockbuster narratives, probably because at larger scales, the political and economic majority will inevitably dominate-- Which is sort of the nature of inequality in the first place.

There's a big difference between casting knights of African descent (fully Anglo-acculturated) in the TV show "Merlin" and a movie like "12 Years As a Slave" which addresses instead of erases these inequalities. But both of them seem to be meaningful to audiences dealing with inequality, misrepresentation and a lack of representation in their daily lives.

So at the end of the day I understand all of this, but when it translates into my writing-- sometimes it's tricky. Cuz I'm a white guy and I like writing white male heterosexuals too. I have slavery, I have sexism, and I have classism in my writing, but in the particular series I'm currently invested in, when I open up with a Eurocentric fantasy setting with a predominantly male cast of characters and I contributing to the problem? I'm not planning on changing genders or races the characters present in the opening (it would screw up the plot), but it does leave me a bit torn and wondering if there's a way to convey some sort of solidarity with these issues in that context. Or whether I should just drop that thought and save it for another story...

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